21st January 2014
By Bryan T. Smyth
14 teams from 10 Cork schools will compete to impress judges at the
second annual EMC VEX Robotics championship at the Nexus Centre on the
Cork Institute of Technology campus this Friday, 24 January. The top
team will qualify for a place at the Vex World championships in
California in April, facing schools from around the world.
VEX Robotics is a global initiative designed to boost interest in STEM
subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) amongst
secondary school children. Using VEX technology, students design and
build robots to compete in a competition in which the robots are
programmed and guided by remote control.
EMC, the US multinational that employs 3,000 people in Ireland,
introduced the initiative and tournament to Ireland in 2012.
In preparation for the competition, each school was assigned an EMC
mentor to guide the students through the design, building, programming
and testing phases of their robots over the past three months.
Teams will vie for multiple prizes. The top prize, the Excellence
Award, awarded to the team that not only builds a quality robot but
excels in many areas of the program, will see the winning team secure
a place in the global tournament in California.
In 2013, Davis College, Mallow represented Ireland at the Vex world
championships in California.
The participating teams include: Davis College, Mallow; North
Monastery, North Cork; McEgan College, Macroom; Deerpark CBS, Cork
City; Bishopstown Community School, Bishopstown; St Colman’s Community
College, Middleton; Colaiste Pobail Naomh Mhuire, Buttevant;
Ballincollig Community School, Ballincollig; Colaiste Choilm,
Ballincollig; Nagle Community College, Mahon and a Coder Dojo CIT team
Commenting in advance of this week’s competition, Tim Kerins, teacher,
Deerpark CBS Cork said: ‘The Vex initiative draws together teaching,
learning and technology in a way that students can relate to and
enjoy. Technology is increasingly defining how we live and how we
teach and we found that getting students to build robots was an
innovative and practical way for them to apply their classroom
learning.’ Mr Kerins said.